Hi. This should be anticipated by now but yet again I’ve disappeared off the face of the Earth for 6 months. Sorry about that. There were reasons (there always are). Anyhoo, here I am. In light of the New Year, I thought I would list a few general (and some specific) goals I have for 2014 (in no particular order).
Care less about things I can’t change or things that don’t really matter. I am a genetic, pathological worrier and I need to cut that out. Or at least cut back.
Simplify my freelance business. Somehow, in my never-ending quest to be perfect I have dramatically overcomplicated the day to day operations of what is essentially a very simple business. I need to simplify it so I can spend less time accounting and more time doing things I actually enjoy. I hate accounting.
Make more things from scratch. I am happiest when I am creating things. That’s why I’m a digital librarian – I digitize and make accessible unique cultural heritage materials. I like and believe in that. But I need to make more things in my personal life too.
Give myself a break. I shouldn’t beat myself up if making something (a quilt, a painting, writing, this blog) becomes a chore and I don’t want to do it for a while.
Take another weekend photography class (preferably two).
PURGE! Big purge of things we don’t need and then a bit of rearranging of the house.
Breakfast has started to become a problem. I’m working on making sure I have protein in my breakfasts, but I don’t want to make eggs in the morning. I know, I know, but I don’t want to. I like to save my eggs for a quick dinner (brinner) when I’m stuck for ideas. My trainer recommended Ezekiel breads, so for the last 6 weeks I’ve been eating Cinnamon-Raisin Ezekiel toast with almond butter and a piece of fruit. You might say I’m in a breakfast rut. I’m STILL burned out from the great baked oatmeal craze of 2012 and I’ve eaten a lot of greek yogurt lately, I drink a protein shake after my workouts so I’m not adding it to the breakfast repertoire and cereal kinda sucks. So what’s a girl to do? I’ll tell you what – make protein muffins!
I found a delicious looking recipe here on the Delighted Momma blog. I tweaked it ever so slightly and came up with these:
Apple Cinnamon Almond Protein Muffins
2 cups almond meal
6 oz unsweetened applesauce
4 oz 0% fat greek yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp double strength vanilla
Mix it all together, bake in greased muffin tins at 350 for 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. Correction, makes 12 really, really tasty and moist muffins.
Each muffin is 154 cal, 12 carbs, 10 g. fat, 6g. protein and 7g. sugar. I’ll be eating two at a time for breakfast (at 7am) for about 300 calories and 12 grams of protein and I’ll probably grab a greek yogurt (again) for another 12-14 grams of protein at 10am. That’s pretty decent in my book.
This book is all embroidery (which I am admittedly not great at) but there is such a wide breadth of difficulty range, I think even I could easily tackle some of the easy projects and work my way up to the hard ones. Simple projects include tea towels and pot holders, while some intermediate projects include table cloths and tee-shirts. Advanced projects include pillows, hoodies and even bed sheets! Some of the projects are just so gorgeous that you want to jump in head first, but the instructions are decent enough that I think maybe, just maybe, I could. I mean look at these mittens:
I could do that, right? Or let’s take a closer look at the pillows that are on the cover:
I’m not gonna lie, I really want to take those pillow patterns and embroider a handbag with them. SO PRETTY! Overall the book has 38 projects and it comes with pattern templates, which for some one like me is ALWAYS appreciated. Eat your heart out Anthropologie, with your expensive everything. Now I can MAKE you stuff! Ha!
Aloo Tikki are those little fried, spiced Indian potato cakes that are a bit crispy on the outside and very light and soft on the inside. They are usually served with green or tamarind chutney and are very, very tasty. One of my favorite Indian food blogger/author has been talking about them recently so I’ve had them on my mind. But I wanted to lighten them up (over the traditional) a bit. So, I thought I could bake them rather than frying them. But THEN I thought that if I can make cauliflower mashed potatoes, why can’t I make cauliflower potato cakes? And Oh Boy are these AMAZING! YUM! I’m in love.
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped and steamed
1 cup of mashed potato
1.5 tsp chaat masala
.5 tsp garam masala
1 clove garlic, grated (I use something like this)
1 tsp grated ginger root
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I had panko on hard, you could use plain or make your own)
salt to taste
I chopped the cauliflower until fine grain consistency with my tiny food processor and mixed it with all the other ingredients (except the extra breadcrumbs). Taste for seasoning. Chaat masala has salt in it so go easy on the salt initially. Make golf ball sized balls and flatten into patties. Press patties with breadcrumbs and put on a pan-sprayed, foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, flip each patty and cook on the other side another 10 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
Eat and enjoy! You will notice there is no fat or dairy in this so this snack or side dish is completely guilt-free. Enjoy!
Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while. Work kind of exploded and left me very little time to have a life. No life = boring blogging, so I spared you all. You’re welcome!
But, I’ve been cooking again and had some recent success. Losar, Tibetan new year, was this past week and we decided to make some traditional treats to celebrate. We found the excellent website YoWangdu and have been making a few things from it. The recipes are very easy to follow and very delicious. I highly recommend you check them out for traditional Tibetan cuisine and for interesting and educational articles on Tibetan culture and travel.
First off, we went to a local Losar celebration and we decided to make and bring Khapse, a traditional fried Losar pastry/cookie. YoWangdu has a very simple to follow recipe. The only changes we made was to add a little extra water while making the dough – to get the right consistency. We fried them up and they were AMAZING! Not too sweet and perfect with tea. This is what the finished Khapse looked like:
We also decided to make two more recipes from YoWangdu, though they aren’t specific to Losar. We made beef momos (steamed dumplings) and sepen (Tibetan hot sauce). The momos were really delicious, though as you can see, we aren’t very good at shaping them yet. And the sepen was HOT, but had great, fresh flavor!
So go check out YoWangdu, learn about Tibet and make something delicious!
Dear god I love rum balls. They are one of the few foods that I have next to no self control over. I love them so much. I’m like a dog. I can’t help myself. Therefore I never make them, except when I can give them away. As it happens, every year I make a gift for my co-workers at the library and I usually give out about 15-20 little gifts. Last year was sea salt fudge and candy cane fudge. This year, I’m going full on rum ball. And they turned out so good that I thought I’d share.
For the record, I do recommend using a rum that you would drink. Also, only use dark, black or spiced rum because let’s be honest, clear rum is meant for disinfecting counter tops and removing sharpie from dry erase boards (it really works), not for drinking. This year, I went with black, spiced rum and I’m very glad I did.
The recipe is dead easy and yields brilliant results time and time again. I have even successfully quintupled it with no negative ramifications. I would caution that this makes a VERY boozey rum ball. I dig that. I like rum. If you want a milder rum ball I would reduce the rum to 1/2 cup. I’ve done that without needing to alter any other part of the recipe and its fine. Still a good rum flavor, but not quite so NSFW.
Tipsies aka Rum Balls
6 oz dark chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% chips is what I use)
3 TBSP corn syrup
2/3 cup rum
2.5 cups crushed vanilla wafers
2/3 cups confectioners sugar
1.25 finely chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, add corn syrup and booze and whisk gently to combine. Add all dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Let sit for about 30-60 minutes until it can be handled. Roll into balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar. After you do you get something that looks like this:
Keeps at room temperature for weeks in an airtight container. Makes 4 dozen (at least). Do yourself a favor and run the vanilla wafers and the nuts through your food processor. You won’t be sorry. If you make them, let me know how they turn out.
This recipe was handed down to me through my MiL. Apparently she got it from a lady named Judy. Here’s the original recipe card! Enjoy!
Believe it or not, I am not a huge fan of beans. I want to be because I know that they are quite good for me and for my tum-tum but….eh? I tend to be very meh about most bean things. The exceptions are my White Bean & Asiago Puree, Daal (recipes forthcoming) and Deborah Madison’s Rosemary White Bean Soup from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
I love this soup. A lot.
Deborah Madison’s recipe is excellent. The first couple of times I made this, I made sure to follow it precisely. But soups are so forgiving, its OK if things shift along the way. I’ve skipped the rosemary infused olive oil on this lazy Saturday and taken a few other shortcuts/liberties but I think the results are still just lovely.
All the following amounts range from accurate to guesstimations, but I try. Here’s what I do:
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
3 small carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp celery flakes (J despises celery so we never, ever have it in the house)
1 tbsp minced garlic (from a jar, b/c today was a lazy Saturday)
1 medium yellow summer squash, chopped (this is totally optional, I just threw it in because it was burning a hole in my veg bin)
4 cans white beans (I used 1/2 cannellini and 1/2 navy b/c it was what I had)
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Sweat the carrots, onions, squash and garlic in the olive oil until the carrots start to soften. Add all the spices and let the heat release all the spice and herb oils. Add tomatoes, broth and beans and leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes, with the lid ajar. I was hungry so I went with 30 minutes. Puree with a stick blender, stir in parmesan and grind some fresh pepper in. Its delicious. Too thick? Add more broth.
Serve with more cheese, maybe a bit of pasta or some crusty, toasted and buttered bread. It’s excellent topped with some homemade pesto!